New Delhi: In a concerted effort to combat cyber fraud, scam phone calls, and other online crimes, the central government of India is implementing stringent measures aimed at bolstering cybersecurity and safeguarding citizens from fraudulent activities. The new laws, spearheaded by IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnav, emphasise the importance of police and biometric verification for SIM dealers, as well as mandatory KYC for subscribers.
Minister Vaishnav outlined the pivotal role of these regulations in preventing unauthorised activities in the telecom sector. Under the newly established protocols, the government will make police and biometric verification mandatory for SIM dealers, ensuring their compliance with stringent security standards. The IT Minister further revealed that a significant number of connections have already been suspended and approximately 67,000 dealers have been blacklisted. Dealers found in violation of these rules will face substantial fines of up to Rs. 10 lakh.
The central government’s endeavour to curtail cyber fraud and enhance online security is underlined by the launch of the ‘Sanchar Saathi’ portal. This innovative platform aims to identify fake phone numbers and deactivate them, contributing to a safer digital environment. Since its inception, the portal has successfully identified and deactivated an impressive 52 million connections. Moreover, legal action has been initiated against 300 SIM card suppliers.
Key aspects of the new regulations for SIM verification include:
- Mandatory Dealer Inspection: SIM card dealers are required to undergo police and biometric verification, a process overseen by telecom operators. Violators will face fines up to Rs. 10 lakh.
- Registration Timeframe: Dealers have been granted a 12-month window to register under the new norms, ensuring compliance within this timeframe.
- KYC for New SIMs: Individuals obtaining new SIM cards or applying for a new SIM using an existing number must provide KYC information.
- Business Connections: The concept of bulk connections has been replaced with Business Connections, wherein the SIM will be issued under the name of the business entity. KYC information for the SIM supplier will also be collected and verified. Up to nine SIMs can be procured through KYC information submission.
- SIM Card Discontinuation: After 90 days of discontinuing a SIM card, the number will be reassigned to another customer. Completing KYC is mandatory for SIM replacement or porting. During this process, incoming, outgoing, and SMS services will be temporarily suspended for 24 hours.
These measures are part of the government’s comprehensive strategy to ensure cybersecurity and curb unauthorised mobile connections. The introduction of AI-based ASTR software and the ‘Sanchar Saathi’ portal has significantly strengthened security measures in the wake of increasing threats posed by cyber infiltration and cross-border activities.